by Dan Gibson
Details are apparently forthcoming as part of an extended interview set to run next week, but the unfortunate news for the day is that AARP.com announced that Tucson legend Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson's disease, which has robbed her of the ability to sing and needs assistance to walk:
Legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, 67, told AARP today that she “can’t sing a note” because she suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosed eight months ago, Ronstadt began to show symptoms as long as eight years ago. But she ascribed her inability to sing to a tick bite (“my health has never recovered since then”), and believed the shaking in her hands resulted from shoulder surgery.
In a wide-ranging interview with AARP’s music writer Alanna Nash to be published on aarp.org next week, Ronstadt revealed how she discovered that “there was something wrong” with her voice.
“I couldn’t sing,” she told Nash, “and I couldn’t figure out why. I knew it was mechanical. I knew it had to do with the muscles, but I thought it might have also had something to do with the tick disease that I had. And it didn’t occur to me to go to a neurologist. I think I’ve had it for seven or eight years already, because of the symptoms that I’ve had. Then I had a shoulder operation, so I thought that’s why my hands were trembling.
“Parkinson’s is very hard to diagnose, so when I finally went to a neurologist and he said, ‘Oh, you have Parkinson’s disease,’ I was completely shocked. I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years.
“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt said. “No matter how hard you try.”
Ronstadt walks with the aid of poles when on uneven ground, and uses a wheelchair when she travels.